After the protests die down and the blisters heal from all that marching, the center-left suburbanites will return to supporting moderate Republicans like Hillary and continue to lose...
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... e-movementThe fury that is currently welling up against our demagogue president is a gorgeous thing. The women’s march on Washington bowled me over by its sheer numbers. The town hall meetings calling Republican representatives to account are delicious payback for decades of phony populism. The combination of the two is one of the healthiest political developments I have seen in many years.
But opportunism never sleeps, and with the rage and the resistance of recent weeks some far less noble characters have seen a chance to develop a new con. They’re up on the resistance bandwagon right now, rending their garments, shaking their fists, and praying that no one holds them responsible for the dead end into which they’ve steered us over the years. Inveighing loudly against Trump has become, for the people I am describing, a means of rescuing an ideology that has proven a disaster.
Comparing this moment with the Tea Party tells us a lot about this misdirection. In its 2009 heyday, the Tea Party represented a kind of superficial secession from the Republican party, which had discredited itself with the series of disasters we call the George W Bush presidency. Throw the old leaders out, the Tea Party seemed to demand, and start fresh
But that’s not really what happened then, and it’s probably not going to happen with the hack politicians, million-dollar consultants and smug journalists who led Democrats to utter powerlessness this time around.
Yes, the Tea Party brought down many Republicans, but in truth it was a way of rebranding the same old Republican party without the stink of George W Bush attached. Conservative activists back then looked out over an economic disaster brought on by libertarian idealism – by a generation that worshiped bank deregulation – and insisted that what we needed was more deregulation, that we needed to go full-on free market. That’s the achievement of the Tea Party.
There is a possibility that the resistance to Trump will turn out the same way – that it will become a vehicle for our Enron Democrats to avoid accountability. “I don’t think people want a new direction,” House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said in December. Now is not the moment for infighting, others have insisted, but for unity and togetherness. Unity behind the existing leadership, that is. Changing the personnel in the C-Suites will only weaken us, they will say; hell, we can’t even afford to see our leaders criticized.....
The last lesson to take from modern conservatism is the most important: the Tea Party succeeded by pretending to be a hard-times protest movement. It deliberately echoed the language of the old left. It raged against bank bailouts and crony capitalists. It dreamed about vast, crippling strikes. It pretended to stand up for workers. Paul Ryan denounced big business. Glenn Beck modeled himself after Thirties enfant terrible Orson Welles. Trump himself constantly mourns deindustrialization and idle factories.
Another way of saying this is that the Tea Party movement was an imitation of the old, workerist left. If you want an explanation for how the manufacturing states of the Midwest went Republican last November, look no further. The insight here is that liberals don’t need to mimic the Tea Party in order to head off this powerful impulse; they merely need to be what they used to be – what they are supposed to be.
I doubt that many of our leading Democrats will be able even to do that, however. For decades now, Democrats and Blair-style “Third Way” leaders have praised one another for leaving all that workerist stuff behind, for embracing globalization and the knowledge economy and the enlightened professional class and affluent Republican voters in the suburbs. This has been going on for so long that the problem today is not only that they don’t want to recapture that part of their identity but that they don’t even know it exists.